SMRT Trains’ loss widens in FY2019 as maintenance-related costs keep it in the red

SMRT Trains’ loss widens in FY2019 as maintenance-related costs keep it in the red

Singapore MRT May 24
File photo of Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) trains plying along lines at the Jurong East Interchange. (Photo: AFP / ROSLAN RAHMAN)

SINGAPORE: Local rail operator SMRT Trains on Wednesday (Jul 31) announced a net loss of S$155.3 million for Financial Year (FY) 2019, nearly double that of the previous year’s S$86 million loss.

The company, a subsidiary of SMRT Corporation, said on its website that the loss was mainly due to an increase in operating expenses, particularly repairs and maintenance costs.

Staff and electricity costs also went up due to higher headcount and higher tariffs and consumption respectively, it said.

The company generated S$781.3 million in total revenue in the FY2019 that ended Mar 31, 2019, with costs of S$946.8 million. After tax, the net loss amounted to S$155.3 million.

Maintenance-related spending had gone up, accounting for 71 per cent of rail fare revenue in FY2019 compared to 62 per cent from the year before, said SMRT Trains. 

This spending includes rail maintenance staff costs, parts and material costs, depreciation of rail assets and other rail maintenance-related operating expenses, the company said.

“We are strengthening our engineering capabilities and working hard to achieve a high rail reliability, so we can give commuters safer and more comfortable journeys,” it said.

SMRT Trains’ increased focus on maintaining its assets has had a positive impact though.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said earlier this month that the performance of the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL), which are managed by SMRT Trains, have improved markedly even as renewal works continue.

The EWL’s Mean Kilometres Between Failure (MKBF) – a benchmark for rail reliability performance – has gone up from more than 400,000 train-km in 2018 to nearly 700,000 train-km. The NSL has shown even better performance, as its MKBF is now 1.4 million train-km, which Mr Khaw pointed out makes it as reliable as that of the Taipei Metro and Hong Kong’s MTR. 

In a separate press release on Wednesday, SMRT Corporation said it has appointed Mr Tan Chian Khong to its Board of Directors. He will contribute his expertise in the management of financial and investment risks of the company and its businesses.

Mr Tan's appointment takes effect from Aug 1, it added.

Source: CNA/kk(mi)

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